FUBAR volume 1: European Theatre of the Damned is an anthology collecting together 15 different stories blending together World War Two and zombies. Sounds like just another Call of Duty zombie map, right? Well that’s where you’d be wrong…
Publisher: Alterna Comics
Writer: Mike Imboden; Stephen Lindsay; Jeff McComsey; Benjamin Truman; Jorge Vega; Dominic Vivona; et al.
Artist: Steve Becker; Danilo Beyruth; Jeff McComsey; Jim McMunn; et al.
Price: £5.99 from Comixology
Our rating: [star rating=”4″]
Comic book anthologies are fantastic in that they draw together lots of creative people who all bring their own styles and voices to the project. Sometimes you might have a story that isn’t very strong, doesn’t really stick in your mind after you turn that last page, and sometimes you’ll have one or two stories that you go back to repeatedly months, maybe even years later. It’s also a good way of finding new writers and artists that just tick all the right boxes for you, discovering new people whose other work you’ll just gobble up.
FUBAR volume 1 does just that but, unlike some anthologies, each of these 15 stories is just as strong and gorgeous as the next. There are no weak links in this book and you can just see how much love has gone into each story on offer. And actually, there’s a lot of respect for the past in this book – no cheap jokes about the subject matter, and some stories do hit home hard and that was absolutely fantastic (see ‘Bearer of Secrets’ which looks at the death camps) because we are not being wrapped in cotton wool, instead are presented with a frank and honest view. Yes, even with zombies.
Stephen Lindsay writes at the beginning that too many times another comic book is just dismissed out of hand because it’s based around the zombie genre. He has a lot of love for this genre, and this really comes through in his own stories. But he hits the nail on the head with his prologue in that zombies can be used for so many messages, for social commentary, humour, not just gore-fests. And the creators have done just that.
The first story – The Day of Days – looks at a failed parachuter who’s stuck in a tree, and below him the land swarms with zombies. This story is only 4 pages long, with very little dialogue. We watch the scene untold purely through the artwork and then right at the end, breaking the tension beautifully, are two words: “My ass.” This man is probably going to die, his death will have been in vain, but these two little words are from so far out of left field that we can’t help but have a good giggle.
Each story is crafted so tightly, water-tight writing matched with beautiful artwork showcasing many different styles. Some artists were conservative with the drawing of inflicted wounds on the zombies, while others really went to town with the gory details. And strangely enough, whichever way the artist decided to go with this, it was perfectly matched to the story unfolding. Maybe this was a conscious decision during the design process, maybe not, but this anthology is a very beautiful creation and will be a delight for zombie and World War Two fans everywhere.